(Update: Adding McDonald’s comment)
It is wrong to enlist teachers to sell kids on a brand like McDonald’s whose core products are burgers, fries, and soda. Marketing junk food to children is a harmful practice. We are in the midst of the largest preventable health crisis in the U.S.—one that is spreading throughout the world, and that increasingly affects children. If this trend is not reversed, many children will be burdened with diet-related diseases like obesity and Type 2 diabetes, affecting their heath for life.Health professionals on the front lines of treating these diseases have long urged you to stop targeting children. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend restrictions on junk food marketing to children. Study after study from esteemed organizations such as the Institute of Medicine and the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest that junk food marketing targeted at kids is a serious health concern.McTeacher’s Nights undermine these important efforts, exploiting educators’ authority and popularity to lure kids to McDonald’s. Transforming teachers into McDonald’s marketers is particularly egregious in light of a recent study in Clinical Pediatrics linking fast food consumption with lower educational outcomes.
Here’s a response from McDonald’s USA:
McTeacher’s Nights are all about community, fun and fundraising. As parents and members of their communities, McDonald’s franchisees and our corporate restaurants have long supported what matters most to them. McTeacher’s Nights are one example.Teachers and parent teacher organizations have a choice in how they seek to raise additional funds, and for years they have told McDonald’s and franchisees that, in addition to the extra financial support these events provide for their schools, they have a great time connecting with their students and neighbors.
Lisa McComb, McDonald’s USA’s director of media relations also said that the company owns approximately 10% of the McDonald’s restaurants across the country, and from January 2013 through September 2015, the company-owned restaurants have paid over $2,525,000 to organizations for donations from McTeacher Nights.
Here’s the full letter: